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Feature: Battlestar Galactica (2000s)

Olmos There

Edward James Olmos as Admiral William Adama Edward James Olmos, aka Admiral William Adama, tells us how the search for Earth is coming along

Ever since Commander William ‘Bill’ Adama took charge of the Battlestar Galactica and the remaining survivors of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol, it has been one ethical dilemma and deadly crisis after another. However, his leadership almost unexpectedly ended when Cylon sleeper agent Sharon ‘Boomer’ Valerii shot him point blank, an event that has continued to shape the ‘Old Man’ even into Season Three.

“That was unbelievable, tragic, and a very humbling experience,” says Edward James Olmos about the assassination attempt on his character. “It made Adama much more sensitive. I think Tony Soprano is going through it right now. A near-death experience definitely changes your perspective. By the end of the season he was a completely different person towards Roslin and towards everyone. As a matter of fact, he couldn’t make decisive decisions. It was very difficult for him because he was too emotional. That is where we last left him off, with the whole decimation of the Human existence, with the capturing of more than 40,000 people. I think we’re a little more than 10,000 people up in Space right now.”

It is true that circumstances look more dire than ever. Somehow the Galactica had managed to weather all tragedies and elude the Cylons, but that all changed when the ‘toasters’ stormed New Caprica in the Season Two finale, Lay Down Your Burdens. Shortly after that shocking scene, the series jumped ahead a year, and sitting in his trailer on the Vancouver set, Olmos notes, “The third year is already starting to be much better than last year. It is amazing. I talked to Ron [Moore, executive producer] yesterday and told him, ‘It is monumental what you guys are doing. If you can hold onto it, really understand it for what it is, you will do really well.’

Olmos has been vocal about how Battlestar Galactica has handled such heavy topics as abortion or rape, and the Humans’ predicament on New Caprica has given the writers even more ammunition. “Their ability to really get into the Human people on the issues they are dealing with like abortion is uncanny,” agrees Olmos. “God, wait until you see what happens. Suicide bombers and the whole understanding of the reversal of comparison and self-awareness of the Humans and Cylons. It really confuses you. You start to see how complex it is and there is no really easy answer. It is like what the United States has done to Iraq. Everybody was afraid of Iraq, which is exactly what the Cylons were; they were afraid of the Human species because the Human species was so deadly and unpredictable that they were not the chosen ones. The Cylons are the chosen ones. Reality is what these guys are talking about. That is what makes this show so advanced. I’ve seen a lot of shows try to use the latest news article, the latest headline, but not like this. They delve so much into the psyche that the Peabody ended up giving its award to the show this year. That is the most prestigious award that someone can receive in the usage of television, even higher than the Emmy. It is an intellectual contribution to the usage of cinema. I’m very proud to be on the show but overwhelmed by the kind of writing and the kind of show this has become. It is fantastic.”

by Bryan Cairns

Read the full interview in
Cult Times #138

Photo © Sci-Fi Channel
Feature © Visual Imagination 2007. Not for reproduction

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Cult Times #138
March 2007
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